Suspect Nursing Home Abuse? What to do…

In America today, we have placed nearly 2 million elderly family members under the direct care of a nursing home. Something you probably don’t want to tell grandma or grandpa is that they could very well be living in one of the thousands of nursing homes that have been charged with neglect or abuse.

Take notice. Nursing home neglect is widespread. Unfortunately, as most people grow older, they become more susceptible to negligence and unnecessarily become victims of abuse. Thousands of elderly men and women move into homes to be cared for by others when they can no longer take care of themselves. Surprisingly, a large number of residents are not being given the care and attention they deserve.

Whenever the owner or person responsible for taking care of his residents fails to fulfill his obligation, nursing home neglect has just occurred. One might say a person has been neglected when the staff is not able to provide the resident with everyday necessities such as water, food, or professional care.

Needless to say, the resident can be afflicted with health problems or injuries as a result of nursing home negligence. Various conditions might indicate a resident has been subjected to neglect or abuse. Some signs include cuts, bruising, dehydration, bed sores, symptoms of malnutrition, untreated wounds, behavioral swings, and general unsanitary environments.

Whenever you suspect a loved one has suffered from nursing home neglect or any form of nursing home abuse, it is advisable to call your local police right away and file a formal complaint. After you file a negligence report with the police, the next best thing to do is consult with an experienced attorney that can handle that type of case in your State.

A top nursing home abuse lawyer will be able to advise you of your legal recourse and represent your loved one if negligence or abuse is apparent. Should your lawyer recommend a lawsuit, the nursing home owner and its staff may be convicted of neglect and be held liable for restitution.

When Nursing Home Abuse is Denied:

Nursing home abuse is a tragic sin against the elderly. It is even more tragic when a victim of abuse or neglect finds the courage to speak up and there is no one there to help them. Often claims of abuse or neglect are easy for nursing homes to deny for the simple matter that the elderly are more likely to lose some of their mental capacity.

Abuse and neglect as well as outright medical malpractice often go unreported by staff members the elderly choose to confide in. This is due to the staff member’s fear that the entire nursing home will lose credibility and the innocent employees will find themselves out of a job and facing legal trouble.

Innocent employees or family members in doubt should contact a reputable lawyer to discuss the situation in complete detail, as the lawyer can advise an innocent employee how to most effectively handle the abuse, neglect, or the medical malpractice occurrences. It takes a great deal of courage for anyone in this situation to seek out the advice of a lawyer and follow through on their direction.

To the employee of the residential facility:

Nursing home residents are more likely to report abuse, neglect, or medical malpractice to an employee they like and trust, and their faith is then placed in that individual to help resolve the situation. Too often the innocent employee is willing to sweep the report under the rug. An employee at a nursing home that is charged with this information becomes equally as culpable as the individual who perpetrated the abuse,neglect, or the case of medical malpractice.

Covering up incidents only leads to more incidents of abuse, neglect, or medical malpractice. Every incident after the initial incident reported becomes equal responsibility of the staff member who did nothing about the initial report of abuse, neglect, or medical malpractice. A competent attorney can explain the intricacies of the law relating to covering up and failing to report abuse cases.

If there is a question to the mental capacity of the residents making the report of the abuse, neglect, or medical malpractice, it is still suitable and advisable to seek the council of a competent lawyer. Whether a resident makes a habit of reporting abuse that doesn’t exist or is expressing a legitimate concern, the nursing home employee is legally obligated to report it.

Nobody wants to make waves or toss our unfounded accusations at good and caring colleagues. However, residents of a nursing home have so little power, and almost no voice. Their need for safety and security outweighs an uncomfortable moment experienced by reporting abuse, neglect, or obvious medical malpractice.

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About Sue Salach

Sue has a Master's degree in Gerontology and has worked with the elderly and their families for over 30 years and is the Author of "Along Comes Grandpa", a caregiving resource guide, and the novel "If I Walked in Her Shoes". As an ElderCare Expert and Keynote Speaker, Sue employs her comprehensive experience and passion, to educate and promote self-care values to family caregivers and the community at large.
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